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Report Shows Impact of KidsCare Ending

PHOTO: The health of some children in Arizona has suffered since the KidsCare program ended a year ago, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PHOTO: The health of some children in Arizona has suffered since the KidsCare program ended a year ago, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
January 22, 2015

PHOENIX – Thousands of children in Arizona may not be getting the medical attention they need because the state stopped funding its KidsCare program, which provided health insurance for lower income families.

A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families concludes that at least 14,000 children were left without insurance when the program ended a year ago.

Dr. Timothy Jordan, a developmental pediatrician in the Phoenix area, says the problem is that some families that were receiving KidsCare cannot afford co-pays and deductibles of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"It's much, much more expensive with Marketplace plans compared to KidsCare, if you have a child with special health-care needs, like a child with autism, cerebral palsy," he explains.

Jordan says a family on KidsCare with a special-needs child was paying as little as $20 per month for complete medical treatment.

He says under a Marketplace insurance plan, the same families can pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket each year for the same treatment.

Jordan says the federal government was paying up to 75 percent of KidsCare, which is part of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). He says the program could be simplified if it were nationalized.

"I think we should have a national KidsCare plan that covered the costs at 100 percent,” he states. “Just give the states 100 percent of the costs so they have no excuse for not providing that care. It wouldn't be that much more."

The report from Georgetown points to cases such as a child with lupus and heart problems who was hospitalized because her family could not afford the doctor visits and medications she required.

Jordan points out on average, one in five American children has special health-care needs.



Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ